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Mullvad VPN review: Speed and privacy compared

Verified by Amy Reeves

The internet is a necessity in the modern era and a virtual private network (VPN) will protect your online activity from being tracked and your data from being intercepted. For many, it plays a crucial role in privacy protection.

Mullvad VPN, launched in 2009, is a Swedish VPN service owned by founders Fredrik Strömberg and Daniel Brentsson, who also own parent-company Amagicom AB.

60-second review

Mullvad VPN has a relatively limited server count of 664, which is much less than other VPN services. That said, it uses Advanced Encryption Standard with 256 bits (AES-256), the highest level of encryption available in the market. Almost all of the best VPN service providers utilise AES 256-bit, as it is considered an impenetrable encryption algorithm. 

Mullvad VPN supports two VPN protocols, WireGuard and OpenVPN, and offers a considerable number of features such as multi-hopping (bridge), split tunnelling and a built-in kill switch. These features have become industry standard as VPN competitors usually include the same features. 

Mullvad VPN’s service has verified its privacy policy claims with independent audits by renowned cybersecurity firms.   

Rating: ★★★

How we research and rate VPNs

100+
HOURS PERFORMANCE TESTING
500+
CUSTOMER REVIEWS READ
100+
HOURS OF RESEARCH
25
COMPETITORS COMPARED
4
VPN EXPERTS CONSULTED

Our reviewers are dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a VPN. We will only recommend a VPN after hours of testing, extensive head-to-head feature comparisons, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews, and the opinions of industry experts.

Our review scores are determined by the following categories:

  • Privacy and performance (30 per cent)
  • Features and functionality (30 per cent)
  • Reputation and credibility (25 per cent)
  • Plans and pricing/value (10 per cent)
  • Customer experience (5 per cent)

We research and test a total of 25 elements within these categories, including:

  • Number and location of servers
  • Streaming service accessibility
  • Security features such as AES-256
  • Performance (upload and download speeds, latency)
  • Value for money, guarantees and customer service
  • Independent server-site security audits

All of our VPN articles are fact-checked and verified by our in-house team of fact-checkers, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and up to date as possible. To find out more, read our article on how we review VPNs.

Mullvad VPN overview

  • Lowest Price: £4.34 /month
  • Free version: No
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 5
  • Number of servers: 664
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN Protocols: OpenVPN (both TCP and UDP ports), WireGuard
  • No-log policy: Yes
  • Audited: Yes
  • Headquarters: Sweden

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Support secure VPN protocols (WireGuard and OpenVPN)
  • Built-in VPN kill switch
  • It can be used on up to five devices
  • Verified no-logs policy

 Cons:

  • No free trial
  • Not convenient for unblocking famous streaming sites
  • Has fewer servers than other VPN competitors

How does Mullvad VPN compare?

Individual preferences and specific requirements may vary, and it’s always a great idea to inquire and compare different VPN suppliers based on your needs. Compared with other VPN services such as NordVPN and SurfShark, Mullvad VPN falls short in terms of its pricing, server count, and bypassing of geo-restricted content. 

VPN provider Monthly Price Lowest Price Free version (Y/N) No. of servers Max. devices supported Netflix BBC iPlayer Disney+ Amazon HBO Max Audit (Y/N)
Mullvad VPN £4.34 £4.34 No 669 5 No No No Yes
NordVPN From £10.39/m £2.79/m No 5,400+ 6 Yes
SurfShark £9.91/m £1.76/m No 3,200+ Unlimited Yes
ExpressVPN £10.41/m £5.36/m No 3,000+ 5 Yes
CyberGhost £10.89 £1.92 No 9,773 7 Yes
Best alternative to
NordVPN is one of the most trusted VPN providers in the world, offering top-notch encryption, incredible speeds, and extra features to make all your online activities more secure.
4.5
Excellent Trustpilot rating
24/7 customer support
AES-256 encryption
VIEW PLANS At NordVPN

How much does Mullvad VPN cost?

Mullvad VPN has a straightforward pricing plan that it has been offering since its inception in 2009. You can pay per month or sign up for a year, or even a decade, at the same price per month.

Mullvad VPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee if the user is unsatisfied by its services, except for cash payments, due to anti-money laundering regulations. There is no free version of the VPN.

Subscription term Price
Monthly £4.34
1 year £4.34/m
10 years £4.34/m

Payment options

Following are the acceptable payment methods for Mullvad VPN:

  • Cash
  • Bitcoin cash
  • Bitcoin
  • Bank wire
  • Monero
  • Paypal.
  • Credit card
  • Swish
  • Eps transfer
  • Giropay
  • IDEAL
  • Banocontact
  • Prezelewy24
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3 months free on the 12 month plan
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Mullvad VPN features

Mullvad VPN offers an ample number of features for its customers, but nothing that the majority of VPN providers don’t already offer. It is important to choose a VPN that has all the features according to your needs. 

Some of the key features of Mullvad VPN are secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN and WireGuard), strict no-logs policy, split tunnelling, VPN kill switch, AES-256 encryption, multi-hop servers (bridge) and ad-blocking DNS servers.

Kill switch

The kill switch is an advanced feature provided by many VPN services, including Mullvad VPN. Mullvad VPN has an in-built kill switch that is enabled by default and cannot be disabled. 

The kill switch gives an extra layer of security and prevents traffic from leaking outside the VPN tunnel if your connection drops suddenly.

Split tunnelling

Split tunnelling is a popular feature offered by many VPN services. This feature helps the users to choose specific applications, websites or services and dispatch them via a VPN tunnel, allowing other traffic to sidestep the VPN and access the internet directly. Meanwhile, the additional services and applications can access the internet without running the VPN.

This element provides users with flexibility and control over their internet traffic, thus optimising their internet experience.

Mullvad VPN offers split tunnelling for Android, Linux and Windows operating systems. You can easily enable split tunnelling from the settings option on your Mullvad VPN application on your respected device. 

Anonymous Account

Commonly, users are required to provide their personal information while creating an account for a VPN service provider. Mullvad VPN has opted for a secure approach here, as they do not ask for your email address or password. They generate a random account number, which is the only thing that is linked to a user. This is a commendable practice as, in the case of a server breach, users’ personal information would not be at risk of getting stolen.

Multi-hop/Bridge mode

Mullvad VPN offers a multi-hop feature, also known as double VPN or Bridge mode. It offers an additional layer of security by routing users’ internet traffic through multiple VPN servers in different locations. The addition of encryption and server-to-server routing can result in slower connection speeds due to increased latency. 

Bridge mode is a method of connecting to Mullvad VPN servers in situations where regular VPN connections might be blocked or restricted, such as in highly censored or restrictive network environments. Bridge mode disguises your VPN traffic, making it harder for ISPs to identify or block VPN connections

Server counts and countries

Mullvad VPN offers 664 servers in 43 different countries and in 73 cities. It provides a filtering option where you can filter by hostname, city, provider, ownership, and protocol (WireGuard, OpenVPN and Bridge).

You can check the server’s status, whether it’s online or offline and can also check if Mullvad or any third-party company owns the server.

No-log policy and headquarters

A no-log policy refers to a commitment made by a company or service provider to not collect or hold user activity logs or individual information. It is a critical concept for maintaining privacy and data security.

Mullvad doesn’t log your DNS requests, connection timestamps, internet traffic, IP address, or any account activity except for the total number of connections per account. Mullvad VPN has verified these claims by conducting independent audits.

Mullvad is based in Sweden and owned by the parent company Amagicom AB. There are currently no Swedish regulations through which governments can ask VPN suppliers to gather traffic-related information.

Encryption and privacy

Encryption and privacy are two separate ways of acquiring security and safety online. Encryption is a technique of altering data into an unreadable form known as ciphertext, using cryptographic algorithms. It allows only a particular party with decryption keys to have access to the encrypted data. Encryption has assisted in guarding sensitive data from unauthorised access.

Mullvad VPN uses AES-256, which is known for its robust encryption. Most of the VPN service providers use the same encryption as it is almost impregnable.

Mullvad VPN offers two of the commonly used VPN protocols, WireGuard protocol and OpenVPN. OpenVPN has the flexibility to utilise both TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) transport protocols. TCP is a connection-oriented protocol, enabling bidirectional data transmission. On the other hand, UDP lacks acknowledgment of data receipt or the ability to request retransmission, making it a faster option for establishing connections and transferring data. Consequently, OpenVPN performs optimally when using the UDP port. You have the privilege to switch between these protocols. The default protocol for the Mullvad VPN is WireGuard.

Mullvad VPN performance test results

Speed tests are the best ways to check for a VPN’s connection speed. There are three key components to consider while testing a VPN’s connection speed.

  • Download speed: Download speed refers to the rate at which data is moved from the web to your device.
  • Upload speed: Upload speed refers to the rate at which data is transferred from the device to the internet.
  • Latency (ping): lower the latency, faster the internet connection. Latency is the time calculated for a data packet to be transmitted to a server and back to your device.
Test before connecting to VPN. (Ookla)
Mullvad VPN Uk server test. (Ookla)
Mullvad VPN US server test. (Ookla)
Mullvad VPN Australian server test. Ookla)
No VPN UK to UK UK to US UK to AUS
Download Speed 18.35 Mbs 15.37 Mbs 8.52 Mbs 11.10 Mbs
Upload Speed 0.85 Mbs 0.73 Mbs 0.82 Mbs 0.82 Mbs
Latency(ping) 9 ms 29 ms 176 ms 306 ms
Percentage of base download speed 83.76% 46.40% 60%
Percentage of base upload speed 85.80% 96.40% 96.40%

WebRTC leak test

WebRTC is a widely-recognised and standardised technology that facilitates direct communication between web browsers without intermediary servers. 

Its advantages include super-fast sharing capabilities and compatibility with most web browsers. However, it requires the devices to know each other’s IP addresses, which poses a potential privacy threat. Therefore, using a VPN that does not leak your IP address while using WebRTC is significant.

A WebRTC leak test was conducted by our researchers both when connected to a Mullvad VPN server and when it was not connected. When not connected, our leak tests showed there were potential leaks and our real IP address was exposed, meaning we could be potentially hacked. Thankfully, when connected to one of Mullvad VPN’s servers, our leak tests showed no potential leaks and our real IP address was protected. The only information revealed was the Mullvad VPN server’s IP address, which can’t be traced back to our real geographical location.

Breaches and audits

There have been no reports of a data breach of Mullvad VPN’s servers. However, according to Mullvad VPN, the Swedish police visited the Mullvad VPN office in Gothenburg in April 2023 with a search warrant intending to seize computers holding customer data. The issue was resolved with the police leaving empty-handed, as Mullvad VPN reports that it informed the authorities regarding its data policies and were able to resolve the situation without revealing customer data. 

An independent audit by a cybersecurity firm is essential for a VPN service, as it increases transparency and verifies the company’s claims. Cure53 and Assured AB conducted an audit of Mullvad VPN on 21 June 2022. The reports state that there were minor issues, which seem to have been resolved, but nothing significant. 

Compatibility and apps

The Mullvad VPN application is available on the following operating software:

For desktop

  • Windows 10 or above
  • MacOS Big Sur 11 or above
  • Linux (works on Ubuntu 20.04+, Debian 11+ and Fedora 37+)

For mobile devices

  • iOS
  • Android 8.0+ or above

Browsers (beta)

  • Firefox 91.1.0 and above

Mullvad VPN is also available on certain routers.

Desktop app

Once the desktop app is downloaded, you’re diverted to a welcome page with a login, where you must enter the account number generated when you created your account.

Mullvad VPNs desktop app has a very simple and easy-to-understand interface. The home screen consists of a map that displays the location of the server on which you are about to connect to. Users can easily change the servers and toggle the VPN using the buttons at the bottom. Further changes can be made from the settings option, where various features such as the kill switch, ad-blocker, protocols, and split tunnelling can be accessed.

The home page of Mullvad VPN also shows valuable data for its users such as the name of the connected server, its IP address (in), and the new public IP address (out).

Mobile app

The mobile app of Mullvad VPN has the same interface as the desktop app. However, in the mobile app, it does not offer the same features as its desktop app; the only available options are auto-connect and local network sharing. On the desktop app you can choose to launch the app on start-up and block malware. The number of features available in the advanced option is also restricted to only WireGuard key, split tunnelling and the option to enable custom DNS server is available. In comparison, the desktop app additionally offers WireGuard and OpenVPN settings.

Router compatibility

Mullvad VPN offers router compatibility, which is really beneficial as all devices on your network will automatically connect to the VPN, eliminating the need to set up each device individually. A detailed guide on the set-up procedure of various routers is available on its official website. 

  • PfSense
  • DD-WRT
  • Asus Merlin
  • OpenWRT

Mullvad VPN customer support

The best way to contact Mullvad VPN is through email via support@mullvad.net. Mullvad VPN doesn’t have a live chat feature as of yet. The FAQ section on Mullvad VPN’s official website is quite helpful as numerous set-up procedures and features are explained in detail.

What do customers say?

Mullvad VPN has an appreciable rating on Apple App Store (4.2 out of five), but is slightly lower-rated on Trustpilot (3.8 out of five stars) and on Google Play (4.1 out of five stars) .

“After using many VPNs I have yet to find one which is as reliable, fast and value for money as Mullvad. Their flat pricing plan is incredible, no locking you in to a three-year plan before you commit. I absolutely love the variety of payment methods they accept. Port forwarding is extremely straightforward following their online guide and once setup works flawlessly. I’ve run into significantly less websites blocking me from accessing them compared to other providers due to the IP being blacklisted, which I love. I would like to see a few more countries in the future, mainly Turkey seems to be a country that other providers offer – however I understand this may be because of local laws”.

“Basic options on android, but I don’t need any bells and whistles on my phone. Wire guard protocol is fast and my connection remains as quick/response as direct connection without VPN running. Has split tunnelling for apps that need it. Some apps require more two-step verification when connecting from different IP addresses, so it’s nice to split tunnel them on trusted networks like my home wifi. Reliable and consistent. Only had a connection issue once that required changing servers.” 

  • Cody LeBoeuf, via Google Play

Independent Advisor’s verdict

Overall, Mullvad VPN is a decent VPN service that utilises necessary security precautions and encryption protocols to safeguard users’ data. It stands out among other VPNs due to its transparency.

However, it has certain drawbacks, including a limited number of servers and the unavailability of bypassing geo-restricted content on various streaming platforms. All in all, Mullvad VPN is an appreciable VPN service that fulfils the basic requirements of a user.

★★★

Score breakdown

Reputation ★★½
Privacy ★★★½
Performance and features ★★★
Plans and pricing value ★★★½
Customer experience ½
Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
£6.77 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.27 /Month
£4.27 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.53 /Month
£4.53 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor does not endorse the streaming of content from regions other than where the subscription is held, nor does it endorse the downloading or consumption of illegally pirated content.

amy

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.